As Texas faced record-low temperatures in February 2021 and snow and ice made roads impassable, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply, leaving millions without access to electricity. As the blackouts extended from hours to days, top state lawmakers called for investigations into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and Texans demanded accountability for the disaster. The Texas Tribune covered the impact of the storm in real time and continues to bring accountability coverage as officials address the issues exposed by the storm.
But Texas oil and gas regulators addressed only part of the problem that led millions of Texans to lose power for days after February’s winter storm, and gas producers likely won’t be required to weatherize until 2023. Full Story
The state Public Utility Commission adopted a rule — which experts first recommended a decade ago following a winter storm — requiring power companies to use “best efforts” to ensure plants can operate in the winter. Full Story
For some energy experts, the increase in donations for the officials at the close of the session looks like a reward for not passing more stringent regulations and raises questions about whether lawmakers let the oil, gas and the broader energy industry off easy for its massive failures. Full Story
While lawmakers took significant steps toward preventing another blackout, hardly any of the proposals passed during this legislative session will aid consumers in recovering from the February storm — but they’ll see higher utility bills. Full Story
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Several billions of dollars in state-approved financing will be necessary to stabilize the state’s distressed energy market after the winter storm. Texas approves more in finance bailouts for its utilities than any other state. Full Story
Lawmakers argue that spreading costs through the whole market — which will get passed through to consumers’ bills — is necessary to stabilize the state’s electricity market and prevent even higher costs. Full Story
State lawmakers are now trying to change the way ERCOT is governed by requiring members to live in Texas and giving more board seats to political appointees — changes that experts say may do little to improve the power grid. Full Story
They used their car to stay warm when a winter storm brought down the Texas power grid. In a state that doesn't require carbon monoxide alarms in homes, they had no warning they were poisoning themselves. Full Story
In the weeks since the winter storm, both the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the Public Utility Commission, the regulatory body that oversees it, have been lambasted for failures in preparing for and responding to the storm. Full Story